United Nations: The United Nations has launched its global campaign "Children, not soldiers" in order to prevent children from being recruited or used as soldiers in conflict areas.
A child waves at a convoy of French army vehicles in Sevare, in the Mopti region of Mali, on February 1, 2013. Pic: AFP
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message Thursday that although thousands of children have been released from armed groups, thousands more were still part of such groups, reported Xinhua.
He asked all governments and NGOs to work with the UN to intensify efforts to meet the goal of zero use of children by any government forces by 2016.
More than 250,000 children under 18 are fighting in both government armies and armed opposition groups. Some children are kidnapped or forced to serve; others join hoping to find food and shelter, help their families, or improve their lives.
More than 6,000 child soldiers may now be involved in the conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR), the UN said.
The use of children to fight adults' wars is not limited to a single country or continent, but has become a worldwide problem. The problem is most critical in Africa and Asia, though children are also used as soldiers by governments and armed groups in many countries in the Americas, Europe and the Middle East.